Some Thoughts on Brock Turner

TW: Rape, White Privilege, Rape Culture

By Greg

I am beyond outrage about the lenient sentence that Brock Turner received

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Brock Turner

for the rape of an unconscious woman. (Also outraged that he wasn’t actually found guilty of rape. No, those charges were dropped before trial.)

I want the victim to receive justice. It is egregious that Brock Turner has yet to admit that he violated the victim even after being found guilty “of assault with intent to commit rape of an intoxicated woman, sexually penetrating an intoxicated person with a foreign object and sexually penetrating an unconscious person with a foreign object.

In her statement at sentencing, the victim said: “You do not get to pretend that there were no red flags. You have been convicted of violating me, intentionally, forcibly, sexually, with malicious intent, and all you can admit to is consuming alcohol. Do not talk about the sad way your life was upturned because alcohol made you do bad things. Figure out how to take responsibility for your own conduct.” (Please read her whole statement if you haven’t)

As a father-to-be with no idea of the sex of the baby, I am terrified of the current rape culture that I would be bringing up my daughter or son. Despite my best efforts to educate her/him otherwise, this culture will teach her she is to be blamed if she is ever assaulted or will teach my son that consent doesn’t really matter and will excuse him if he does ever rape someone.

I want revenge for the victim. Part of me wants to lock him up forever, especially as Shaun King pointed out yesterday in the NY Daily News, there are people of color in jail for ten years for nonviolent crimes, like selling weed. White privilege as rape culture has influenced this case in many ways.  This revenge side of me wants Brock to be locked up for a very long time to make a point that our justice system will finally start holding young privileged white males accountable for their crimes.

At the same time, this revenge side of me disturbs me. Because I know better. The current prison system is corrupt for many reasons and is focused on retribution, rather than restorative justice that will rehabilitate the offender and help with the healing process of the victim. Also if one young white privileged rapist gets a very long sentence, this does not change a very corrupt and unjust system that overwhelmingly discriminate against people of color.

I don’t know how to reconcile these positions of wanting justice and revenge to be served on one hand, while knowing that prison will probably not rehabilitate Brock Turner or probably facilitate further healing for the victim. Either way I know he needs more than six months in jail. But what is the “more”?

Lastly as a Quaker in ministry, I want to see the Light of God within Brock and find ways to grieve that he doesn’t understand the evil he did to his victim. I will hold him in the Light that he may one day realize the evil he has done. I do find it much easier to find the Light of God within the victim, but my theology asks that I sees the Light of God within everyone, no matter what evil they done, because they are still God’s creation. But I am having trouble with this as well.

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What Am I Doing Next? AKA Announcing a New Ministry

By Greg

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My clean former office after I de-cluttered it!

Tuesday was my last day of working for Friends Center at Guilford College. A lot of people are asking what I will do next.

Here is my answer: I am taking a leap of faith and embarking on creating a new Quaker ministry! I am working to start a network of Quaker campus ministries on non-Quaker campuses in the United States.

This idea has been floating around in my mind since I interned with Princeton University’s Office of Religious Life during the last year of seminary three years ago. During my internship, I started a Quaker student group to worship with weekly.

I was surprised at who came to the group. There were several students who grew up identifying as Quakers, while others came who did not identify as Quakers, but they went to Quaker schools growing up and they cherished and missed the weekly meetings for worship. Then there were occasional visitors who were intrigued about Quakers.

Over the years, I have been involved in a lot of conversations about Quaker renewal and how to grow the Religious Society of Friends. None of these conversations have involved

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Talking about this idea at Emerging Practices in Quaker Outreach in late April (Photo by Chris Mohr)

talking about working with college students on college campuses. While I was a student at Princeton Theological Seminary, many of my classmates talked fondly of their denominational campus ministry and that helped them to discern their call to ministry. At the same time, I know of several Quaker leaders who came to Quakerism during college at non-Quaker institutions, but we do not have any network or coordinated effort to assist Quaker students or students who may be interested in Quakerism at these institutions.

I envision creating a network of campus ministries to help reach young adults at non Quaker higher education institutions as well as creating resources to help Quaker students and Quakers in general support campus ministries in their area. My hope with creating this network is to support Quaker students at non-Quaker institutions, develop future Quaker leaders, and to reach college students who would be interested in Quakerism if they have the chance to hear our messages.

For the next year, with the help of my family, I have been released from full-time work to pursue setting up this network. Also I have a support committee from my meeting, First Friends Meeting of Greensboro, to support me in this work.

You can help me with this effort by helping to identify:

  • Quaker students you know at non Quaker institutions
  • Quaker student group at non Quaker institutions
  • Quakers who have a leading to work with college students

Here is a Google Form you can fill out or you can email me.

I welcome any help, input, and prayers as I take this next step! I am scared and excited at the same time!